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National Enforcement Investigations Center (NEIC)
The National Enforcement investigations Center (NEIC) is the environmental forensics center for EPA’s enforcement programs. NEIC has a unique role in supporting complex criminal and civil enforcement investigations and conducting applied research and development to maintain sufficient scientific tools and applications for the enforcement programs. Often the demands of some of the most complex environmental investigations require the use of non-standard methodologies. In response to these needs NEIC conducts and develops innovative investigative strategies. These can include, but are not limited to, complex process based investigations, development of new analytical and field methods, evaluations and modification of existing methods, and expert technical consultation and advice.
Partnerships: NEIC partners include various groups to provide objective, legally defensible data and expert scientific and technical advice.
Accreditation: NEIC is accredited by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board/FQS and is compliant with ISO17025.
Field Science: involves gathering information from a specific site for use in environmental investigations and enforcement activities.
Laboratory Science: Chemical analysis is a vital part of many environmental enforcement actions.
EPA Environmental Forensic Library: Is the only enforcement-specific library in EPA.
NEIC provides forensic field and laboratory services for EPA’s criminal enforcement program and works with legal counsel groups to provide objective, legally defensible data and expert scientific and technical advice. When necessary, NEIC technical experts provide the Department of Justice prosecutors expert testimony during trials.
In support of civil investigations NEIC personnel work with EPA regional inspectors and attorneys. NEIC’s inspectors regularly team with headquarters personnel to improve or develop regulations for new and emerging environmental threats. Whenever possible NEIC partners with state, local and tribal personnel on inspections and to develop and deliver training on the technical aspects of environmental enforcement.
NEIC also works with other groups in the EPA including regional laboratories, field teams, and research laboratories to support applied research that is important to environmental enforcement and the protection of human health in affected communities. NEIC summary papers on environmental forensics for numerous conferences, case studies and guidance documents are provided on the Policy, Guidance and Publications page.
NEIC is an accredited environmental forensics center. The NEIC’s operations are compliant with ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and supplemental forensic requirements. ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board/FQS is the accrediting body, and the accreditation scope includes field sampling, field measurements/monitoring, and laboratory measurements.
NEIC also maintains accreditation for specific methods in bulk asbestos fiber analysis. This accreditation is granted by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program, operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Accreditation confirms that NEIC implements a recognized and systematic approach to planning, conducting, documenting, and assessing forensic and environmental data collection activities. Accreditation demonstrates to environmental stakeholders and to the American public NEIC’s ongoing commitment to sound science.
Scope of Accreditation
- Field Sampling
- Water and Wastewater Sampling
- Asbestos Sampling
- Surface and Soil Sampling
- Container and Tank Sampling
- Air Sampling
- Field Measurements/Monitoring
- Lead Detection and Repair (LDAR) Monitoring
- Site Safety Monitoring and Screening
- General Physical Field Measurements
- Laboratory Measurements
- Chromatography (gas and liquid chromatography with various detector technologies)
- Molecular and Spectroscopy and Diffractometry
- Elemental Analysis
- Microscopy (Light and Polarized Light Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy)
- RCRA Characteristic Tests, Physical Property Tests, and Sample Preparation
Field Science can take many forms and is used in many different ways by the Agency. NEIC field teams gather information either by inspections of facilities or collecting samples that can either by analyzed on site using field measurement technologies or analyzed in a fixed site laboratory, such as NEIC’s laboratory.
Often, the presence of pollutants must be established with certainty by highly sensitive and selective tests. Analysis to evaluate chemical composition is an important component of environmental forensics – the application of environmental science to environmental law. Read more about NEIC’s Laboratory Science.
EPA Environmental Forensic Library
The Library is a member of the EPA National Library Network. It is the only enforcement-specific library in EPA. The library also provides information to other federal, state and local agencies, as well as the general public by appointment.
The Library provides services such as:
- Background information on potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and expert witnesses
- Searches and literature from legal and regulatory databases (statutes, regulations, and related case information)
- Information on facilities, companies and industrial processes
- Chemical literature, standards, and analytical methods
- Computer literature and administrative information
Other services include:
- Borrowing/lending books and obtaining journal articles for EPA employees
- Obtaining electronic access to EPA technical reports, news, data sources and Internet resources
- Brokering patron's requests to other EPA information sources
- Instructing in the use of the EPA library catalog and the EPA Desktop Library